Santa Clara County is firing back after comments from one of the nation's top health leaders.
Dr. Deborah Birx says the coronavirus task force is tracking rising cases in 12 cities, one of them being San Jose.
Audio of the meeting was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a journalism nonprofit.
County health leaders are responding saying that even though there's an increase in cases, it's less than most metropolitan cities.
In a statement the county says, "We are concerned about the increase in cases nationally and believe that this highlights the need for a coordinated national approach to address this pandemic, something the president has failed to put into effect. We call upon the Trump Administration to finally implement the national strategy our nation needs to contain COVID-19"
San Jose’s mayor called other mayors on the list, and says many were also surprised by the announcement.
“Nobody had heard anything from the white house about what criteria was used,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.
Even more disturbing, say South Bay leaders, is that no one from the White House has called to explain the watch list or why we are now on it.
“It was not made clear what it means to be on the list,” said Jeff Smith, Santa Clara County executive.
The county executive, who is also a medical doctor, says San Jose is performing better than several cities that were left off the watch list.
Smith adds that if the White House is finally putting together a cohesive national strategy to fight coronavirus, then that’s good news .
Otherwise, he says this so-called watch list is dangerous.
“I like dr. Birx. But when the federal government gives inconsistent messaging, that does great damage to fighting the pandemic,” she said.
South bay leaders concede there is still a lot of work to do in the local fight, especially in low income, minority communities.
In fact, in a recent two week span, there was a 63% jump in cases in San Jose.
The leaders insist that on or off a list, their focus is the same — flatten the curve again.